Corporate Governance: Balancing ESG, Sustainability and Growth

Nov. 16, 2020 - Nov. 19, 2020

About This Event

The dynamic between institutional investors, corporate boards, influential shareholders, and the market continues to evolve. Corporations facing the unprecedented global pandemic, nationwide racial protests and increased pressure from their shareholder base surrounding environmental, social and governance initiatives must consider gender, ethnic and cognitive board diversity as they face a wide range of challenges.

Eco-friendly, socially conscious and pro-governance investments have been hailed recently with a surge in focus on ESG initiatives, but sustainability and profitability don’t always go hand in hand. Shareholders want shorter-term returns and tighter spending from corporates, but they also demand innovation and sustainability practices which oftentimes comes at a cost. Companies are faced with balancing short-termism with long-term returns and must be mindful of potential influential investors seeking to exert their influence in the boardroom.

Join The Deal and a roster of senior corporate executives, institutional investors, and corporate advisers for Corporate Governance 2020. This virtual event features four days of online sessions exploring the biggest challenges facing companies today as they shift their focus to more sustainable practices, stronger ESG initiatives and preparing for longer-term risks all while managing customer and shareholder needs.

Corporate Governance 2020 features daily broadcasts of panel sessions and interviews, and your registration provides access to the entire week of sessions. You can view them live as they happen or on demand at a time that is convenient for you.

Speakers

Ray Cameron
Head of Investment Stewardship, Blackrock, Inc.

Ray A. Cameron, Managing Director, is the Head of BlackRock’s Investment Stewardship team for the Americas region based in New York. In this role, Ray leads a team of specialists responsible for engagement and proxy voting activities in relation to the companies in which BlackRock invests on behalf of clients. Through direct engagement with companies, the team encourages corporate governance practices that support sustainable financial performance over the long-term.

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Melanie Adams
VP & Head, Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment, RBC Global Asset Management
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Helene Banks
Partner, Cahill Gordon & Reindel
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Amy Borrus
Executive Director, Council of Institutional Investors
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Ann Cairns
Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard
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Anna Catalano
Board Director, Kraton Corporation; HollyFrontier Corporation; Frontdoor, Inc.
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Arthur Crozier
Chairman, Innisfree M&A Incorporated
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Anne-Sophie d'Andlau
Managing Partner, Co-Founder, CIAM
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Heidi DuBois
Executive Vice President and Head of ESG, Financial Communications & Capital Markets, Edelman
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Michael Flaherty
Senior Vice President, Gladstone Place Partners
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Deborah Gilshan
Advisor, Investment Stewardship & ESG and Founder, The 100% Club
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Daniel Hanson
Chief Investment Officer, Ivy Investments
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Alexandra Higgins
Managing Director, Okapi Partners
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Preston Hopson
Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, Tetra Tech, Inc.
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Rick Horvath
Of Counsel, Litigation Department, Paul Hastings
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Cynthia Jamison
Chairman, Tractor Supply Company; Director, Darden, Inc., Office Depot Inc., Big Lots Stores, Inc.
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Jonas Kron
Chief Advocacy Officer, Trillium Asset Management
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Jared Landaw
Partner, Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel, Barington Capital
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Wendy Lane
Board Director, Willis Towers Watson, Ltd.; NextPoint Acquisition Corp.; Al-Dabbagh Group Holding Company and Chairman, Lane Holdings Corp.
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Caitlin McSherry
Director of Investment Stewardship, Neuberger Berman
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Brandon Nelson
General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, JetBlue Airways Corporation
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Cassie Nielsen
Vice President, Talent, VMG Partners
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Ian Nussbaum
Partner, Cooley
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Veena Ramani
Senior Program Director, Capital Market Systems, Ceres
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William Regner
Partner and Deputy Chair, Corporate Department, Debevoise & Plimpton
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Paul Schneider
Head of Corporate Governance, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan
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Anne Simpson
Interim Managing Investment Director, Board Governance & Sustainability, CalPERS
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Rick Sinkfield
Chief Legal Officer and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, Laureate Education, Inc.
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Ted White
Managing Director, Legion Partners Asset Management
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Lauren Taylor Wolfe
Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Impactive Capital
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Suzanne Yoon
Founder & Managing Partner, Kinzie Capital Partners
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Agenda

Monday, November 16: Practicing What You Preach
11:00am Eastern
The Changing Role of the CEO: From Business Leader to Corporate Ally and Social Activist

Investors and a broader spectrum of stakeholders are holding CEOs accountable for displaying strong leadership on societal issues including immigration policy, mass shootings, and systemic racial injustice and violence. How can CEOs balance shareholder concerns and sustainable practices, while managing employee morale, share performance and customer satisfaction? This panel will explore the changing role of CEO and how they can align the needs of the management team with the evolving expectations of their employees, customers, partners and society.

Moderator: Steve Gelsi, Senior Reporter, The Deal

Panelist: Anna Catalano, Board Director, Kraton Corporation; HollyFrontier Corporation; Frontdoor, Inc.

Panelist: Michael Flaherty, Senior Vice President, Gladstone Place Partners

Panelist: Wendy Lane, Board Director, Willis Towers Watson, Ltd.; NextPoint Acquisition Corp.; Al-Dabbagh Group Holding Company and Chairman, Lane Holdings Corp.

Panelist: Paul Schneider, Head of Corporate Governance, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan

Panelist: Suzanne Yoon, Founder & Managing Partner, Kinzie Capital Partners

1:00pm Eastern
Keynote Interview with Ray Cameron, Head of Investment Stewardship, Blackrock, Inc.

Interviewer: Ron Orol, Senior Editor, The Deal

3:00pm Eastern
Maintaining Credibility with an Increased Focus on Social Issues

Corporations facing the global Covid-19 pandemic along with nationwide racial justice protests were quick to react, but businesses are starting to realize that they need to make longer-term commitments and disclose achievable and concrete ways to measure their progress. Now more than ever it’s about setting the standard, creating accountability and installing a regular cadence of updates and actions, particularly in regard to the “social” aspects of their ESG efforts. But beyond the disclosures, what is required to enact strong ESG policies in the boardroom? How can company management enact sustainable and profitable practices while managing shareholder concerns, employee morale, share performance and customer satisfaction?

Panelist: Helene Banks, Partner, Cahill Gordon & Reindel

Panelist: Kal Goldberg, Partner, Finsbury

Panelist: Rick Sinkfield, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, Laureate Education, Inc.

Tuesday, November 17: Influential ESG Standards
11:00am Eastern
Activists, Index Funds Shift to ESG

Large passive index fund managers are shifting resources into ESG investing, and some of the most well-known activist investors are doing the same. BlackRock’s Larry Fink is pushing for more climate risk disclosure just as activist Jeff Ubben launched Inclusive Capital Partners to focus exclusively on socially responsible investing. This panel will review the fast-moving transformations underway at both index and hedge funds and evaluate how corporate boards and management teams need to prepare or respond when targeted. Investment horizon and investment manager attention to allocations will all be considered.

Moderator: Steve Gelsi, Senior Reporter, The Deal

Panelist: Arthur Crozier, Chairman, Innisfree M&A Incorporated

Panelist: Anne-Sophie d’Andlau, Managing Partner, Co-Founder, CIAM

Panelist: Daniel Hanson, Chief Investment Officer, Ivy Investments

Panelist: James Madsen, Partner, Greenbrook

Panelist: Ian Nussbaum, Partner, Cooley

12:30pm Eastern
Keynote Interview with Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chair, Mastercard

Interviewer: David Marcus, Senior Writer, The Deal

3:00pm Eastern
Alphabet Soup of Sustainability Disclosures

Companies looking to garner investments from ESG-focused funds have a plethora of possible disclosure options when looking to lay out their plans. Top voluntary disclosure standards include the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, or SASB; the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, or TCFD; and United Nations sustainability goals in Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, reports. Corporations, meanwhile, may choose to complete sustainability reports, which can be interpreted in various ways. What types of requests do corporates receive regarding ESG disclosures? Is there room for a single regulatory framework under a body such as the Securities and Exchange Commission? What are the key points to include in sustainability reports, and how must companies disclose such efforts? How can advisers work with management teams to buy into pro-ESG efforts, enable companies to act differently and execute on ESG-related changes, such as making disclosures on carbon emissions?

Moderator: Ron Orol, Senior Editor, The Deal

Panelist: Melanie Adams, VP & Head, Corporate Governance & Responsible Investment, RBC Global Asset Management

Panelist: Jonas Kron, Chief Advocacy Officer, Trillium Asset Management

Panelist: Caitlin McSherry, Director of Investment Stewardship, Neuberger Berman

Panelist: Stacey Mitchell, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Panelist: Brandon Nelson, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, JetBlue Airways Corporation

Wednesday, November 18: Social Responsibility and Boards
11:00am Eastern
Director Choices in a Challenging Environment

As calls for social justice reform cover the mainstream headlines, companies more than ever are being asked to consider the diversity of their boards in terms of gender, ethnicity, age and skillset. Meanwhile, they continue to face never-before-encountered economic issues dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Amid the turbulence, how has the board selection process changed? Participants seek to evaluate mechanisms for installing directors with diverse and strong business backgrounds and how companies can develop strategies to keep CEOs on their toes amidst the volatile corporate environment. What recruitment techniques are being used to identify diverse director sets willing to challenge executives and encourage critical debate in board meetings? How can activist investors work with companies to add more diversity onto boards and into the C-suite?

Moderator: Armie Lee, Writer, The Deal

Panelist: Deborah Gilshan, Advisor, Investment Stewardship & ESG and Founder, The 100% Club

Panelist: Preston Hopson, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, Tetra Tech, Inc.

Panelist: Cynthia Jamison, Chairman, Tractor Supply Company; Director, Darden, Inc., Office Depot Inc., Big Lots Stores, Inc.

Panelist: Jared Landaw, Partner, Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel, Barington Capital

Panelist: Cassie Nielsen, Vice President, Talent, VMG Partners

1:00pm Eastern
Keynote Interview with Lauren Taylor Wolfe, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Impactive Capital

Interviewer: Ron Orol, Senior Editor, The Deal

3:00pm Eastern
ESG Funds: Friend or Foe of Boards?

Eco-friendly, socially conscious and pro-governance investments have been hailed recently with a surge in focus on ESG initiatives. Investors and companies, however, may be overwhelmed by a lack of clarity around ESG funds. Do ESG funds invest with a strategy to engage companies on environmental or social themes, or do they have a disinvestment approach, only allocating investments in companies deemed to fit a socially responsible category? How do companies plan for longer-term environmental risks but also stay prepared for shorter-term issues? What are the biggest challenges facing companies making a pivot to more sustainable practices, be it in manufacturing, operations or dealmaking? Among other topics, the panel will review how boards can better prepare themselves to oversee companies and entice ESG-focused investors. What are companies doing to make sure their ESG policies are up to date and in line with shareholder and customer needs?

Moderator: Steve Gelsi, Senior Reporter, The Deal

Panelist: Rick Horvath, Of Counsel, Litigation Department, Paul Hastings

Panelist: Veena Ramani, Senior Program Director, Capital Market Systems, Ceres

Panelist: Ted White, Managing Director, Legion Partners Asset Management

Thursday, November 19: Examining the Regulatory Landscape of ESG
11:00am Eastern
Shifting Regulatory Landscape

With the 2020 election in the rearview mirror, regulation remains top of mind for investors, advisers and companies. From disclosure regulations for large investors to measures expected to hamper company-investor communications and transparency, the continued shift in regulations has posed governance-related challenges to companies, activists and institutional investors’ funds. Policy experts are closely reading the tea leaves on the results and their effect on a wave of new restrictions affecting governance and activism. This panel will review how policy changes are impacting how companies engage with their investor base. The panel will also review the effectiveness of stock surveillance systems, shareholder proposal rules, proxy plumbing restrictions as well as tough rules targeting proxy advisers and their effect on ESG investing and activism.

Moderator: Ron Orol, Senior Editor, The Deal

Panelist: Amy Borrus, Executive Director, Council of Institutional Investors

Panelist: Alexandra Higgins, Managing Director, Okapi Partners

Panelist: William Regner, Partner and Deputy Chair, Corporate Department, Debevoise & Plimpton

Panelist: Anne Simpson, Interim Managing Investment Director, Board Governance & Sustainability, CalPERS

1:00pm Eastern
Edelman Investor Trust Barometer Spotlight

Moderator: Heidi DuBois, Executive Vice President and Head of ESG, Financial Communications & Capital Markets, Edelman

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